DALLAS, Texas—In the months since its inception, Walmart Human Resources has seen its number of hires increase exponentially.
But that growth has come with some bumps in the road.
The company announced its new corporate social responsibility guidelines in November and it’s been an ongoing battle with a number of other large retailers over how it should treat employees who have suffered from mental health issues.
The company said the new guidelines are meant to ensure employees are “in the loop” on the issues and that they are not isolated or “off limits.”
It’s unclear how much of that process has been streamlined, but the company has been working to improve its approach to mental health, which it says is “not just a symptom of mental illness, but a condition of its existence.”
“We have a long history of caring for our associates, and it has helped us be able to meet our goals,” Walmart spokeswoman Angela D. Johnson said in an email.
But some employees say the changes are a bit vague and vague.
“I’m not sure it addresses all of my issues,” said Kimberly Harkins, a former employee at Walmart who is now a wellness manager at a company called Bumble and Bumble, where she works in the Human Resources department.
“I think there’s a lot of vague stuff that doesn’t address it.”
The guidelines are intended to help people with mental health problems, and Walmart is still grappling with how best to provide them with workplace supports and training.
Walmart said the changes will take effect this fall.
Walmart’s Human Resources Department declined to comment on the specifics of its policies, saying the changes would not be announced until later this month.
However, many people are questioning whether Walmart should be focusing on improving its mental health program.
“Walmart is doing a very poor job of providing services for its employees, and their mental health needs are not addressed,” said Rebecca Mancini, who works in human resources at a health care consulting firm.
Mancini said she’s seen some of the same concerns over mental health at Walmart.
“[Walmart] has to provide a better mental health experience for employees, because that’s their livelihood, and I don’t think that’s something they’re going to be happy with,” she said.
“If I go out there and they don’t have a mental health provider in my area, I’m not going to have the same level of care as I do at my health care provider.”
Some employees say Walmart’s mental health policy isn’t helping.
“WalMart is very inconsistent about what they are doing,” said Holly C. Young, a psychology professor at Loyola University Chicago who teaches courses on workplace stress management.
“They don’t address the underlying cause of stress.”
Young said many of the workers she’s interviewed have complained about being pushed out of Walmart.
Young said some employees have been let go for having a negative mood or feeling like they are being treated unfairly.
But others have said they are still employed.
Young said she thinks the focus of Walmart’s focus on mental health is “too broad” and that the company’s focus has been too limited.
She said the company needs to take a more holistic approach to its workplace, one that addresses the needs of all of its employees.
“When you look at it from a holistic perspective, mental health in the workplace is really a complex problem,” Young said.
Mancinis said the mental health of employees is a difficult topic for employers to address, but that Walmart is trying to address the issues of mental health more broadly than before.
Young said Walmart has been proactive in improving its employee mental health programs, which is one of the reasons she thinks Walmart should focus more on addressing its employees’ mental health.
“It is a really important issue for us to be addressing in terms of mental wellness,” Young added.
While Walmart’s actions have been positive in addressing employee mental illness issues, Mancinis cautions against overreacting.
If a mental illness is diagnosed, the person may not receive the support they need.
Mancins said that is a problem for many employees, including some of Walmart employees who are struggling with depression and anxiety, which she said is a “significant problem” for some employees.
So what can Walmart do to improve employee mental wellness?
Mancinins says Walmart should offer a variety of support and help workers who need it most.
The company said it is taking the steps it has taken to improve mental health and wellness at its stores.
The changes are being rolled out across Walmart’s supply chain, including in stores, and will take place over a three-year period, she said, adding that the changes “are intended to address and address all issues in our supply chain and in the community, including a focus on the mental well-being of our associates.”
The changes will help Walmart better meet the